Building a website for your small business? Here’s a guide to when you should roll up your sleeves and when you should hire a professional.
Some things are best left to a professional. I learned this the hard way when I tried to make bathtub gin. However, when it comes to building a website, the question is a bit more complicated.
So, should you build your website yourself or hire a professional?
The good news is that building a website yourself has never been easier. While being proficient in coding may have been required a few years ago, dozens of simple tools now exist that will allow you to build your own website without learning how to code—and they’re relatively cheap.
But first, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
1. How complex does your website need to be?
This matters a lot. If all you need is a basic one-page website with an email address, phone number and maybe your business address, you can absolutely do that yourself. There are many website builders and one-page templates you can use to get up and running quickly.
Now consider advanced functionality that you commonly see on businesses websites, like:
- appointment scheduling
- complex forms
- a support library
You may find a suitable plug-in (basically an app that sets it up for you), but you may also consider hiring someone.
2. How much time do you have?
This is a critical factor that can actually work both ways. On one hand, if you’re in a rush and only need a basic one-page site, your best bet is probably just to do it yourself. On the other hand, if you need your website up quickly and it needs a lot of features you should probably pay someone.
Having more time basically gives you two things. First, the ability to take it slow and build it yourself. This will allow you to create a more complex site and not have to rush. The second factor is that even if you are going to pay someone, time will make it cheaper since anything that needs to be done quickly tends to cost more.
3. How much do you want to spend?
There’s a misconception that building a website is expensive. The fact is, it has never been cheaper or easier to get online with a website that will put your MySpace page to shame. Website builders such as Squarespace, Wix or Weebly, can cost as little as five dollars a month. More expensive platforms such as Shopify start at $30 USD a month (we’re not sure why a Canadian company charges in American dollars either) or more but also provide a lot more e-commerce functionality.
That said, even if you plan to hire a developer to build your website, most now use templates as a base to get started which significantly reduces the cost compared to building something from scratch. There are thousands of templates available for platforms like WordPress, Shopify or Drupal, so there’s really no need to build something from scratch (unless you have a looooot of money).